AMD Hondo Z-60 APU is 'perfect' for Windows 8... or not

AMD (NYSE:AMD) says its new Z-60 chip, codenamed Hondo, is a perfect fit for Windows 8 tablets and convertibles. The new accelerated processing unit (APU) claims lower power drain than an Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) Core i3 and better graphics. However, power economy doesn't compare well at the low end, where Intel offers its latest Atom parts.

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers compare and contrast.

Hondo

By Richi Jennings: Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment.

Agam Shah reports:

AMD's Z-60 chip is timed for the launch of Microsoft's Windows 8. ... A tablet with a Z-60 chip could be expected this month. ... Windows 8 tablets and hybrids such as the [HP] Envy X2 and Lenovo's ThinkPad Tablet 2 will use Intel's x86 chips...but AMD has said it will compete with Intel-based ultrabooks and tablets on price [and] with ARM, whose processors will appear in tablets with...Windows RT.

...

The Hondo chip will run at a clock speed of 1GHz and draw 4.5 Watts. ... [It] will have 80 integrated Radeon graphics processor cores [for] video and gaming capabilities [on] 1080p displays. ... [It] will succeed the earlier dual-core Z-01, which was released in June last year and drew around 6 Watts.  MORE

Rik Myslewski adds:

Among Intel's lowest-power Core processors, the i3-3217U weighs in [at] 17 Watts...nearly four times as hungry as AMD's new dual-core, 1GHz Z-60. ... At the other end of the Intel Windows 8 tablet performance scale lies the tablet-centric dual-core, 1.8GHz Atom Z2760, aka "Clovertrail"...[which] is an Atom processor, with all the limitations that its 32-bit instruction set and relatively laggardly in-order execution entails.

...

The Z-60, on the other hand, is based on AMD's 64-bit, more efficient out-of-order Bobcat core...which also slots it in nicely between the Atom core and the i3's beefier compute cores. ...the fact that the Z-60 has 80 Radeon HD 6250 graphics cores bodes well for its performance vis-à-vis the Atom Z2760.  MORE

And Fuad Abazovic has feeds 'n' speeds:

1GHz is its maximum clock and the chip itself can work at lower speeds to save power. 1MB of L2 cache and USB 3.0 support [is] a refreshing change in this market. ... Z-60 should be enough for up to 10 hours in Windows presentation mode...up to 6 hours of video playback [and] should be able to last almost two weeks in S3 [sleep].

...

We saw a mock up 10-inch device that was really thin and AMD has already confirmed that this is roughly how...tablets and convertibles...will look. ... If you care about numbers AMD [says] that in 3Dmark 06 Hondo Z-60 scores 1701 while Intel Atom N2600 scores 373. Intel’s Z670 tablet chip scores just 137. In PC Mark Vantage Hondo scores 1770, Atom N2600 scores 1803 while the Z670 scores 1106.  MORE

Sounds perfect for Windows 8 tablets then? Not quite, says Andrew Cunningham:

There actually isn't much new about the Hondo chip—it uses the same...technology as the current E-series APUs. ... AMD's chips have better CPU and GPU performance than the Atom chips...but will this advantage extend to tablets?

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While the Bobcat architecture can usually beat Atom...the Clover Trail Atoms will be clocked quickly enough to erase AMD's CPU performance advantage.

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...unlike Clover Trail, the processor is not a system on a chip (SoC). ... USB, SATA, and other functions are still handled by...the Fusion Controller Hub (FCH). [It] does include some features Clover Trail lacks (most notably native USB 3.0 support), but in tablets, space is still at a premium. ... The FCH also consumes extra power...between 0.55 and 0.68W during normal use.  MORE

Loyd Case agrees:

ARM chips may dominate the tablet space, but AMD will not be daunted...[though] it doesn't look like AMD's power conservation will beat Intel's.

...

AMD Radeon class graphics technology [is] likely to outpace Intel...[but it] comes at a price: The Z-60’s rated power is...higher than Intel’s...for the Atom Z2760. What that could mean for Intel is either longer battery life...or lighter weight. ... Customers will have to choose between possibly better graphics or longer battery life.  MORE
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